Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Life is good.

Just a quick post. On Facebook, when it's a great day, we say "life is good."

Life is good every day for me, and I thought I should note that fact. I have fallen into new routines and rhythms, and am a happier person all round. When I built Delphi Computers & Peripherals, it was an adrenaline-filled adventure, for which I am very grateful. It was thrilling, but it was not ever contemplative. We delivered cutting edge technology, with all its variations. Often I had little time to think from a higher level about the work. I was CEO, but I was in the trenches.

ASA is very different. I designed it so I could do what interests me and what pleases me. As I closed my books at the end of the third quarter yesterday, I thought about how different it is from Delphi or WaMu. I have no manufacturing process, no inventory. I contract associates for large jobs, and have no employees. The network I am building of innovators, thought leaders and market players is significant and is spread across the world. Most importantly, I love the work I do, and it makes a difference in the world.

If the KING-TV interview works tomorrow, then I'll post it here so you can see me in action. I've spent time this past week trying to boil down what I do to its essence, so it can be understood by a television viewer. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 25, 2009

One year later.

A year ago today, the FDIC seized WaMu and sold parts of it to JPMorgan Chase. Despite the fact that we knew the financial system was teetering on the brink of chaos -- Lehman Brothers, AIG, Freddie and Fannie Mac problems had all surfaced by then -- the harshness of the FDIC's decision, and the manner in which the sale was effected, still trouble many of us. It is not clear why the deal could not have worked like the spring sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase, wherein shareholders, including employees, received a better deal.

I recommend The New Yorker article titled "Eight Days in September," which is in the 9/21/09 issue. It discusses the climate in which decisions were made earlier than the WaMu decision.

One thing is clear: the world is a different place. I worry for all members of my teams at WaMu who have not yet found a job, or who have encountered difficulties that make just getting out of bed a challenge. I am thinking of you today, as the economy shows signs of improvement. You are each special, in part because you worked at WaMu. Respect for one another, high standards of performance, the ability to hit targets and goals, and the ability to have fun while you work are a plus for any other work environment you find. I think it's possible to replicate the best of the WaMu culture each time one of you finds another job. For those still looking, please look forward. There is so much help that the world needs right now. It's only a matter of time until you find your next opportunity.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

No words.

Some things are too hard to write about. The suicide of a former colleague is one of them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A new day.

I'm glad that I spent time with the Kindred Spirits team last weekend, cheering them on. The Seattle walk raised $5.5 million, absolutely amazing in today's climate.

I saw my foot surgeon on Tuesday, and things are progressing. It's apparent that what both podiatrists say is true -- unless I'm willing to have the radical bunion surgery, then I probably won't be able to do the 60 mile walk again. I have previously ruled this surgery out because of its success rate (50%) and because the recovery time is 3-5 months.

My new firm requires that I travel to meet with clients and attend conferences or meetings. My calendar starting in October does not really allow for me to sit tight in Seattle with limited mobility for that period of time.

I'm off on Monday for Minneapolis, to an H1N1 conference sponsored the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP). It reminds me that I have not been on the road since May, when I was traveling mostly by train. I believe the time away will give me more time to ponder what to do with my feet. I know there are many ways to raise money for cancer research, and not all of them require me to walk 60 miles.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why I Care.

There is so much bad news in the world today that many have become indifferent to it. Though I did not walk this year, I did raise money and awareness -- and I did support those who walked. You could say that I'm a busy executive, and wonder why I would do that. It's actually pretty simple. I was raised with a set of values that says when you can influence the outcome, you put your shoulder to the wheel.

Cancer wreaks havoc upon persons and their families. Breast cancer strikes both women and men, but mostly women. I have long believed that raising money for research into any form of cancer enhances the research for other forms. And we've come a long way. Just not far enough.

So rather than feeling blue, please celebrate the joy of walking with me in the photo essay below. Over 2100 walkers this year, even in such a terrible economy, as well as 300 support crew. And it's hot this year -- over 400 walkers seen yesterday in the medical tent for heat exhaustion.

We have known that walking is good for your health, and leads to more of those little endorphins running around in your bloodstream. Walking can also raise a lot of money, though we won't know exactly how much until closing ceremonies this afternoon. If you feel like getting outside yourself, and seeing 2400 focused people in action, please make it a point to attend the closing ceremonies today at 4pm at Seattle Center's Memorial Stadium.

This morning the walkers were dropped at North Seattle Community College to walk south for their last 16 miles. They came through Green Lake, my favorite place to walk, quite early. Here are some of the photos, and names when I can remember them now. Mostly, I hope the photos give you a flavor of the event.

Michelle and Juanita, two feisty Kindred Spirits.

A total of five Seattle firefighters who are based at the Port of Seattle walked this year, and here's one of them.

Here's the firefighter who carried the "My Mother" flag in opening ceremonies. All the firefighters wore their 40 pounds of gear through the walk.

The tall flags carried in opening and closing ceremonies are taken apart so that they can be carried during the walk, passed through the walkers so everyone has a chance.

A Kindred Spirits artwork, placed in Pit Stop #1.

The medical area, where blisters are self-treated and/or handled by the medical tent.

Tracy Kudrna is in this photo, though we can't see her. I was yelling to her and shooting at the same time.

Pit Stop Heaven.

And they just keep coming....

A little boy wants to keep hanging on to his mother...

More firefighters....

More Kindred Spirits teammates!

Kindred Spirits team captain Penny Kellam, and Jennine Linn. Penny will walk both in Seattle and in California this year. Jennine, who had brain surgery on May 25, walked 5 miles the first day, 7.5 miles yesterday, and plans on 6.5 miles today. She is feeling good!

The crew works so hard during this event! Here's one of the bike riders. They stay with walkers all along the route, guide walkers across intersections, and call for assistance for walkers if it is needed.

Here comes Kate Butt!!!

And still more Kindred Spirits!

Ramona Peck, a Kindred Spirit and a survivor, crewed this year. She is many things, but we know her as the mother of Jennine Linn.

Last photo, below, is of the Pit Stop #1 crew chief, who has just checked to make sure no walker has been left behind.

Friday, September 11, 2009

All Things Bright and Beautiful -- 2009 3 Day Walk

I will get names here eventually, but two are easy: on the left, Jennine Linn, who had brain surgery this past summer; and on the right, the other Annie.

Penny reading out her punch down list at last night's picnic, which, with relatives and friends, came to an estimated 175 people.

On behalf of the Kindred Spirits team, Jenny Sinanan presents Penny with a gift bag and a card.

Early this morning. Jenny and Penny, both flag bearers, behind stage talking with another flag bearer -- a man whose wife died of breast cancer earlier this year. He has two small children. He will carry the "My Wife" flag in opening ceremonies.

The Kudrna family was right there to support Tracy. She was one of seven or eight women who made up the "Survivor's Circle" this moning, and she carried the "Courage" flag.

Two more Kindred Spirits, Michelle on the left, of course.

Seattle firefighters fielded a team of five. This guy is from the Port of Seattle, and he carried the "My Father" flag.

Here's the back of his outfit, with photos and names of those for whom he walks -- in full garb.

Another Kindred Spirit carried the "Our Future" flag. Here she is with Jenny, who carried "My Aunt."

Pre ceremony gathering of flag bearers.

Here's the man carrying the "My Wife" flag down from the stage.

Here's "My Future" coming down from the stage.